Doppler’s Birthaversary

We still can’t understand how anyone abandoned this dog–but someone surely did.

She arrived at the pound with her nails curling inward, her coat matted with poop and mud. She was left in a baseball dugout with her brother (or father–we don’t know), Bentley.


Three years ago today a very apprehensive Helaine and I drove to the pound in Wallingford to get Doppler. A few days earlier Doppler chose me when I came to look at their ‘special case.’

We still can’t understand how anyone abandoned this dog–but someone surely did.

She was left in a baseball dugout with her brother (or father–we don’t know), Bentley. They arrived at the pound with their nails curling inward, their coats matted with poop and mud.

Doppler get her hair cut-IMG_7871-05262012-h700We’ve heard stories. Sometimes people become sick, or die. Their relatives don’t know what to do with the dog. Sometimes people lose jobs and can no longer afford the upkeep.

A dog discarded is the end of what’s already a tragic story.

We took a chance adopting. We got lucky!

May262013_3798She came trained. She came polite. She came laid back. She fit in perfectly starting on day one.

Doppler has seen a lot in the past three years. And now, after a coast-to-coast ride on Helaine’s lap, she’s a Cali girl.

A few hours after we brought Doppler home our friends Cheryl and Steve adopted Bentley. Another “happily ever after” story.

doppler-doesn't-want-to-be-recycledWe don’t really know how old Doppler is. She’s very puppyesque, but our Connecticut vet’s estimation (based on her teeth) is six or seven.

Who got luckier? Doppler or us?

Doppler Update: Haircut Day

A few days ago we realized Doppler’s fur had grown so long, she probably couldn’t see!

My opinion is Doppler’s prettiest when her fur is long and shaggy. I don’t get a vote.

Madi came by this afternoon with her salon-on-wheels. It was time for an afternoon of beauty. Here’s the result.


Doppler: This Shot Captures Her Essence


If Doppler ever learns to talk, her first words will be, “Turn off the damn camera!” I’m taking advantage of the situation. She can’t say no. She’s been my photographic subject thousands of times.

Every once in a while a single photo will stand out. This one does to me.

Helaine was drying Doppler after her shower. The blow dryer was farther down her back. Doppler was prone with her snout flat on a towel.

I was flat on my belly and on the other side of the bedroom when I snapped away. It wass a 300mm F/4 lens, a telephoto. I shot at 1/200th, slow for this focal length but OK because of image stabilization.

The ISO was 4000. Very high. You get tiny noise specs on the photo. It’s the price you pay for sharpness in low light.

This lens, configured this way, produces a shallow depth of field. On shots like this you try and get the eyes in focus and forget everything else. That wasn’t happening. Her bangs worked fine. Doppler’s nose is slightly out-of-focus while most of her body is softly blurred.

I like this shot in part because of the incredible contrast in her fur. Bright white to shadowy dark grey are represented. Each cluster of strands lies a different length from the lens, so not only is there contrast in luminance, there’s contrast in sharpness.

When Doppler speaks, after she tells me to stop, she’ll let me know this photo captures her essence.

How Doppler Gets Fluffy

“Oh,” Helaine said as she returned from shopping. “I didn’t expect you to take a shower yet.”

She had shower plans for me… and Doppler.

Recently, dog wash time has meant Doppler joining me in the master bathroom’s shower. When I’m done Helaine wields the blow dryer.

Doppler is nonchalant about the whole thing. She doesn’t enjoy showers, but she does nothing to fight them. No squirming or yelping. She doesn’t cower. She just lets it happen!

I use the shower’s wand to soak her, then apply the dog shampoo and rub. Helaine is in charge of the brush/blow dryer combo. We keep the blow dryer at its lowest setting.

The result is one fluffy dog–a lamb cloud!





Doppler’s Only Job: Be Cute


Helaine’s at the dentist. I’m doing some things around the house. I left Doppler to her own devices.

Doppler has her favorite spots. She likes her bed in a corner in the kitchen. She likes the blanket we leave on the floor behind my desk in my office. She LOVES the sofa in the loft. That’s where she went today.

I didn’t see her for at least a half hour, but when I did she was quietly enjoying a freshly constructed blanket and pillow fort.

Doppler’s only job is to be cute. She gets an excellent employee review every time!

Two Years With Doppler

IMG_0001 2nd birthday Doppler-w1400-h1400

Doppler arrived with a mysterious past. She’d been abandoned–purposely trapped in a baseball dugout.

When animal control in Wallingford rescued her, she was a mess! Doppler’s hair was long and matted and infused with dirt and worse. Her nails had begun to turn in.

At the pound they gave her a shave and pedicure. Her rehab had begun

Who knows what name she originally answered to? The pound renamed her Charlotte.

A few days later Helaine and I showed up. She was renamed again.

It’s difficult to believe there’s a more gentle, more sweet, more adorable dog than Doppler. How anyone let her go is beyond comprehension.

We don’t know her real birthday or even how old Doppler is. We choose to celebrate it on November 18, because that’s when she rescued us.

Happy birthday dear Doppler. Happy birthday to you.

My Little Dog Is A Little Hoarse


Doppler leads the good life. Her biggest daily decision is stay asleep or roll on her back for a belly rub? She barks sparingly.

That probably hasn’t been the case the past few days. After spending time couchsurfing with Bentley at Steve and Cheryl’s, Doppler moved on to sleepover camp. Camp features daily (and probably nightly) concerts with all the pups.

Doppler came home hoarse! This is a new one for me. Helaine caught on first when we got her around 7:00 AM. I heard it distinctly this afternoon as Doppler announced a neighbor at our door.

“Do you think she wants a lozenge,” Helaine asked this evening?

A few days rest and Doppler will be good as new. She’s working on that right now.

If Dogs Could Speak

If dogs could speak they’d let you know they never want to leave your side… even when traveling.

IMG_2648-Doppler Wants To Travel

IMG_2652-Doppler Wants To Travel

IMG_2658-Doppler Wants To Travel

Doppler Didn’t Want To Be Recycled

I’m not sure what was going through Doppler’s mind when we drove to the transfer station, but she did look a little worried!


Doppler In Stealth Mode

We had a bunch of people stop by the house over the last few days. That really messed up Doppler’s schedule.

She says she needs at least 20 hours a day prone. Why argue with success?

Today, with just the three of us around, Doppler became invisible. Consider this catch-up day.

At one point I asked Helaine where Doppler was, though she was in the room with us! She’s that good.



The Perfect Dog


“She’s polite,” I said to Helaine this evening while explaining Doppler’s last trip outside.

img_4402-11102012doppler the shag rugDoppler was sleeping on the sofa. I was watching TV.

She got up, walked over and climbed vertically up my chest. She was perfectly positioned to lick my face. This is her way of telling me she’s got to go.

We walked to the front door. As I picked up her leash I realized its little reel of plastic bags was empty.

There was a minute or so of busy work to get more bags and put them in their enclosure. I looked down. Doppler was at my side, her head up, her butt down. Motionless. Waiting. Patient.

Doppler get her hair cut-IMG_7897-05272012-h700We took her shopping this afternoon. Doppler rode along in a travel bag. She didn’t balk. She didn’t kvetch. She was glad to go with us.

Good dog.

She is every bit the good dog her photos portray!

This is the one thing Helaine and I still have trouble believing. She is amazingly sweet and endearingly cooperative. She is a go along, get along companion.

She doesn’t even shed. That would be out of character!

We really did luck out when we rescued Doppler. She did OK too.

Doppler Helps Measure The Snow!

Doppler, our 9.5 pound Maltese rescue, was at a loss until Helaine dug a trench

There’s now a 40″ snow report from our town, Hamden. I can believe it. The snow is deeper than anything I’ve ever seen before and I lived in Buffalo for four years!

Of course this presents a logistical dilemma. Doppler is approximately short. Our snow piles are approximately ginormous.

We’d convinced Doppler to piddle on our top step, but that was as far as she’d go. Twenty four hours have passed since… well, you know.

Because of my back surgery last summer (how long will this excuse last) Helaine dug a trench then an arena. Doppler was pleased. Though she usually has a full lawn at her disposal (for her disposal) she was glad to get what she got.

Naming rights to Doppler’s arena are available to the highest bidder. Act now, hopefully it won’t be here long.

Doppler And Treats

We are all creatures of habit, none more than Doppler. That’s especially true when it comes to her visits to the front lawn.

We’ve just come back from Doppler doing a number one. The expectation was a three (one plus two).

“She’s working the system,” Helaine said.

That’s because Doppler knows an excursion to the lawn is always followed by a treat.

Once we come back into the house and I remove her leash, Doppler sprints to the family room where she waits in her crate for the reward. If I take too much time, like today when I began to chat with Helaine, Doppler will come into the kitchen to better gauge the hold-up.

We all know the drill. Doppler stands under the edge of the kitchen table looking up, wistfully. As soon as I begin to take her treat from the bag she turns toward the family room and hits the accelerator. There’s not enough traction on the hardwood floor.

It’s a cross between Fred Flintstone’s feet and some ‘drifting’ from a Vin Diesel movie.

We’ve seen it a thousand times. It never gets old!

Doppler’s Idiosyncrasies

Doppler at Ikea

We took Doppler shopping today. She accompanied us to Ikea in a camo bag slung over Helaine’s shoulder. A sign on the door said only Service Dogs were allowed. Doppler is Secret Service, Undercover Division.

I’m guessing they wouldn’t have bought that excuse had anyone asked. No one did.

Doppler was exceptionally good. After a brief attempt to let her paws hang out she settled back and took in the Swedish.

There’s a video attached to this entry showing Doppler’s pre-excursion excitement. Hyperactivity is the exception, not the rule for our puppy.

It got me to thinking about a few of Doppler’s idiosyncrasies.

Doppler must walk on the right… or from her perspective, you must be left of her. I have no idea why.

Doppler’s faster than me walking stairs. She’ll patiently wait for me upstairs then let me pass her so she can circle around and be on the right! She does it every time.

When we go outside for a walk Doppler’s also always on the right. She is adamant, even if I forget.

Today, when I gave her a large dog bone shaped treat she picked it up in her mouth then circled from the family room to the kitchen to the hallway past the front door and back into the family room. She made this circuit at least five times as Helaine and I watched and wondered.

This is not the first time she’s taken a bone on the grand tour of our ground floor.

Are these behavioral traits she was born with? Did she learn them?

Doppler came to us already grown up. We’ll never know.

Doppler: Before And After

Yesterday I posted a before photo of Doppler pre-furcut. My intention was to post the after picture today. That was before I saw both pictures together!

Doppler’s still got loads of fur. She won’t be cold when she hits the lawn.

She sure has a lot less than she did yesterday!